Manchester United owners The Glazers family announced they are considering selling the club after a 17-year reign dominated by declining on-field performance and fan protests.
A statement from the club said the board would “consider all strategic alternatives, including new investment into the club, a sale, or other transactions involving the company".
Moreover, the process would "include an assessment of several initiatives to strengthen the club, including stadium and infrastructure redevelopment, and expansion of the club's commercial operations on a global scale" to enhance "the long-term success of the club's men's, women's and academy teams, and bringing benefits to fans and other stakeholders".
The announcement of a potential sale has put an end to years of speculation over whether the Glazers might be persuaded to offload a club. Their 17 years in charge have been marked by off-field chaos and unprecedented footballing decline.
Indeed the Red Devils have not won the Premier League since 2013, and have gone through a conveyer belt of managers in the aftermath of the retirement of Sir Alex Ferguson.
How much did Man Utd cost the Glazers?
Malcolm Glazer, who owned NFL side the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, began his investment in Man Utd in March 2003. At the time, the Red Devils were dominating the Premier League and were one of the most successful clubs in Europe.
The Americans then bought full control of the club for £790million ($1.34billion) in 2005. The deal was deeply unpopular with fans however as it was predominantly financed through loans secured against the club's assets.
A year later, Malcolm’s sons, Joel and Avram Glazer, took over the day-to-day running of Man Utd after their father suffered a stroke. Malcolm died aged 85 in 2014.
The Glazers' takeover loaded the Old Trafford club with debt that is now around £500million. Before the takeover the club were debt-free.
The £1billion it has cost the Glazers to service the debt has also enraged fans, with the owners having cashed in themselves by receiving dividends from the club.
Who would buy Man Utd?
If Man Utd were sold outright it would likely go for more that the £2.5billion a Todd Boehly-led consortium paid for Chelsea earlier this year.
Reports have recently claimed that the club would sell for anywhere between £5billion and £9billion.
In August one of Britain's richest men, Sir Jim Ratcliffe, a boyhood United fan, expressed an interest in buying the club. After meeting with the Glazers, however, the billionaire claimed the family were not interested in a sale.
He is likely to maintain an interest in the club.
Another party touted has been Dubai’s sovereign wealth fund, which would create symmetry in Manchester in terms of Middle Eastern investment.
Featured Image Credit: Alamy
Topics: Football, Manchester United, Premier League